First year students take three courses and conduct a laboratory rotation in the Fall and Spring semesters and complete a third laboratory rotation that summer.
Second year students are expected to declare their dissertation advisor by September. They begin their dissertation research and take two courses that fall: Virology 202 (Proposal Writing), which helps students prepare for the preliminary qualifying exam, and Med Sci 300qc (Conduct of Science), which is required of all DMS students and serves to inform students about appropriate conduct of research and the many ethical and social problems that they may encounter during their research career.
Preliminary qualifying exams (PQE) are held during December of the second year. Following successful completion of the PQE, students continue their dissertation research and establish their dissertation advisory committee (DAC) in consultation with their advisor and with the approval of the Program Chair. Students hold their first DAC meeting within six months of completing the PQE.
G3 and beyond
By the third year students are absorbed in their dissertation research. They are required to meet at least once a year with their DAC until the G5 year when meetings take place every six months.
Upon receiving permission from their DAC to write they are expected to write and defend their dissertation within 4-6 months. A suggested endpoint for graduation, though this decision is left to the discretion of the individual DAC, is two submitted manuscripts.
G5 students are required to take a Conduct of Science refresher in the Fall semester.